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Water Conservation Rebate Program

The Residential Water Conservation Rebate Program is now closed.  

 Please check back in Spring of 2019 for details on the program.

Thank you for all of your water conservation efforts!

For questions regarding the program please email Environment and Sustainability or call 403-995-6316.  

Water Conservation Rebate F.A.Q.'s
What is the Rebate Program?
The Town of Okotoks is offering a water conservation rebate program to incentivize and reward residents for their efforts towards water conservation. Reducing water consumption is critical for Okotoks, as our community’s demand for water peaks during the summer months when the Sheep River aquifer provides the least resources.
When is the Rebate Program offered?

The 2019 program is being offered from May 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 on a first-come, first-served basis until the fund is fully depleted. Your rebate will be reflected on your Town of Okotoks bimonthly Utility Account.

Who qualifies for the Rebate Program?
Rebates are available for Town of Okotoks residential property owners, and renters, who are connected to the Town’s water distribution system. The rebate is a maximum of $200/household for all approved water conservation purchases, not including the Rainwater Harvesting System or the Xeriscape program.
How Do I Apply for a Rebate?

Starting May 1, 2019, complete an online application form.

Paper forms for the Water Conservation Rebate Program are available upon request at the Municipal Centre, starting May 1, 2019. Complete applications will be processed on the date received.

Include a sales receipt and any additional required documentation with your application form. Items purchased as of January 1, 2019 are eligible.

Additional Details and Requirements
  • Available to Okotoks water utility customers (homeowners and renters)
  • Rebates offered on a first-come, first-served basis as applications are received (date stamped)
  • Rebates are provided through the Town of Okotoks bi-monthly utility bill (cheque provided to renters)
  • Shipping, installation and GST not included in rebate 
  • Proof of purchase required
  • Several items require additional specification information with application form
  • Only fully completed applications will be processed
Guide to the Xeriscape Pilot Program Rebate

Note: This program is closed until May 1, 2019. Please check back in the Spring of 2019 for further details.

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping means water-wise or water-efficient landscaping. It involves choosing plants that are appropriate to dry climates and providing healthy growing conditions.  Xeriscaping creates an environmentally friendly and beautiful landscape that can be maintained with little or no supplementary watering once plants are established.

The word ‘xeriscape’ might bring a picture of a desert-like landscape or a rock garden to mind but a xeriscape landscape can be beautiful, lush, and green.  The combination of thoughtful landscape design, good soil, well placed trees, shrubs, and perennials, and a thick layer of mulch will yield a low-maintenance and eye-appealing yard.

How is the Xeriscape Pilot Program different from the drought tolerant plant rebate being offered?

Xeriscaping does not mean adding drought tolerant plants to existing garden spaces.  Xeriscaping includes removing a large area of turf, like a front yard lawn, and replacing it with native and/or drought tolerant plants.  It includes amending the soil depth and quality, so that plants will thrive in dry conditions, and adding a thick layer of mulch so that moisture doesn’t evaporate.  The goal of a xeriscape landscape is to have a yard space that is self-sufficient, low-maintenance, and beautiful.

Why is creating a xeriscape landscape important?

With growing demands on water supply and potential droughts, it is everyone’s responsibility to rethink appropriate water use. As over 30% of summer residential water is utilized on lawns and gardens, xeriscaping can play a significant role in reducing potable (treated) water consumption. By using less water in yards, we ensure that there will always be enough potable water for basic use in our homes.

Benefits of Xeriscaping

Less watering…drought tolerant plants can thrive on 40-60% less water than typical plants!

Less weeding…weeds are impeded by a thick layer of mulch and lack of water!

Less fertilizing…drought tolerant plants have deep root growth enabling them to get nutrients deep in the soil.

Less pesticides…by planting a diverse xeriscape of drought tolerant plants, a wider range of critters will find a home and keep the ‘pests’ in balance.

Less mowing…a xeriscape landscape can have no turf which means more time for weekend fun and less time with the lawn mower.

Why are plants that are both deer resistant and drought tolerant being recommended?

Deer resistant plants are less likely to be eaten by deer but, depending on the variety, may have high watering needs.  Drought tolerant plants use a lot less water but may have a greater chance of being eaten by deer.

A plant that is both deer resistant and drought tolerant will thrive in your yard in moist and dry conditions with a reduced threat of being eaten. No one likes to see a once beautiful plant reduced to inch-high stems. Planting drought tolerant and deer resistant plants means retaining curb appeal all season long!

Benefits of deer resistant plants…Using deer resistant plants in your yard will decrease close encounters with deer, and help keep deer populations within normal parameters.

7 Principles of Xeriscaping

Planning

Work with your space (topography, sun exposure and soil). Group drought tolerant plants in areas with full day sun; give less tolerant plants some partial shade and keep the more delicate or demanding plants for a spot near your water source or an area that may be wetter due to run-off and topography.

Top Soil

Preparing the soil in advance will help plants get established and provide good nutrients as the landscape matures. You want to have 12 inches of topsoil. Adding screened loam and incorporating organic matter will improve water penetration and retention in any type of soil. Rich, loose, water holding soil will encourage good root development and lessen the plant’s need for supplemental water.

Vegetation Selection

Selecting plants that thrive in our area during dry periods will give you the best results. This often includes native plants but can include non-native species. Drought tolerant plants can be aggressive so be careful about invasive tendencies which can create maintenance problems or threaten native ecosystems. 

Mulch

Mulch is created naturally by leaves dropping and plants dying. Try to leave naturally occurring mulch on the soil or use other mulches like leaves, grass clippings, straw or decomposed bark mulch. Mulch moderates soil temperature, holds moisture, slows erosion and suppresses weeds that would compete with your plants for food and water. Apply about 3 - 4 inches of mulch at the initial planting and replenish annually or as needed. Be careful not to cover the base of the trunk on trees and shrubs to avoid decay and rodent problems.

Turf Areas

You should determine how much lawn should be part of your initial design plan, taking into consideration what you plan to use your lawn for. Assess the amounts of sun, moisture and traffic to determine the appropriate grass mix.

Water

Not all plants need the same amount of water. If only a few plants require water, hand watering may be an effective means. Rootzone irrigation systems on or under the soil are often the most efficient. Water is released at slower rates encouraging the water and roots to go deeper into the soil. This helps plants withstand dry periods as the roots are down where evaporation rates are slower. Root zone systems also have fewer losses to wind and evaporation. If watering above the soil, use sprinklers that distribute large droplets low to the ground. Manually watering with soaker hoses or a slow trickle from the end of the hose is also effective. Avoid watering during hot, dry, windy periods of the day and water in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Water based on the needs of the plants and follow the Town of Okotoks watering schedule. Water infrequently at a slow rate to encourage deeply rooted plants.

Note that even drought tolerant plants will need sufficient watering until they get established. Small plants may establish in a year of two but large nursery grown trees may need three to five years to properly establish themselves.

Maintenance

Realize that xeriscape gardening will require some maintenance. Weeding, pruning, deadheading, and some watering will be necessary. The purpose of xeriscaping is primarily to conserve water and once plants are established they may require little or no maintenance. To minimize turf watering and fertilizing, leave turf grasses a minimum of 3 inches in height and leave the clippings to help conserve moisture and provide nutrients back to the soil. In the design phase, select plants that will not out grow their space. This will minimize excessive pruning and unnecessary maintenance which can be stressful to plants.